What is a Draw?
A draw or hollow refers to a valley or long narrow gorge between two clefts of rock.
Why You Should Visit
Of all the hollows in the Baraboo Hills, Hemlock Draw supports the most stunning contrast in vegetation. You can see plant and bird species typically found in the northern areas of the state growing close to those typically found in southern Wisconsin.
These northern species, such as hemlock and yellow birch, may be relics from the time, some 13,000 years ago, when the edge of a towering ice mass stood just a few miles to the east.
You can see narrow pillars of rock, called "sea stacks," which are a remnant of ancient times when the Baraboo Hills were a chain of islands in a vast sea.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The Nature Conservancy first came to the Baraboo Hills in the early 1960s at the request of local residents and university professors who recognized the unique nature of this area. They wanted the Conservancy's help in protecting it.
The presence of both northern and southern plant and bird species makes Hemlock Draw an important site in the Hills.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Conservancy has helped protect a total of 1,080 acres at Hemlock Draw. This figure includes government cooperative projects and land owned and managed by the Conservancy.
An active group of volunteers helps the Conservancy to maintain some trails, take down fences, and remove non-native, invasive plants.
We have an ongoing research project here that tests various forest management techniques to determine the most effective way to maintain the oak forest community. This community is slowly disappearing as much of the forest becomes dominated by maples and other shade-tolerant species.